Are you planning your first trip abroad? Don’t let budget restraints put a damper on your trip, try these tips to make the most of exploring Europe on a budget.

Are you trying to plan a trip to Europe on a budget?

European travel might seem too expensive, it doesn’t have to wipe out your savings account. There are plenty of ways you can save money on a trip abroad, while still getting a great experience.

Keep reading to find out our best money-saving tips.

How to Get to Europe on a Budget

While most of us would love to take a European vacation, many think that it’s too expensive and not in their budget. But the truth is flying to Europe might be more attainable than you think.

In fact, it can even sometimes be cheaper than certain destinations within the U.S.

The key is to plan ahead and be strategic with when you travel. To help you get started, here are our ten best tips for traveling Europe on a budget:

1. Fly at The Right Time

Just like flying domestically, flight prices vary a lot based on the time of year and destination. Typically summer is the most expensive time to fly to Europe, as that’s a popular time to go. January and February tend to be the cheapest, so it’s a good idea to start there.

This can change depending on the holiday schedule, so try to traveling during the week and not on a holiday weekend. You can also save money by flying at odd items or picking up a layover or two.

Plane tickets to Europe can cost anywhere from only a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars, depending on how you plan it.

Make sure you plan in advance, as tickets get more expensive the closer you get to your departure date. A spontaneous trip might sound fun, but it can get expensive.

europe on a budget

2. Get Creative When Looking for Housing

Thanks to new technology, finding housing abroad has never been easier and cheaper. Before you jump straight into looking at hotels, try different house sharing sites such as Airbnb.

Airbnb or any of its competitors allow locals to list their homes or apartments for rent. This homes might offer fewer perks than hotels, but that often means they come with a lower price tag.

When you’re trying to save money, the key is to always go for fewer amenities. You don’t need a pool or a spa when you’re busy sightseeing anyway.

3. Be Your Own Tour Guide

When you’re in Europe, you’ll see tons of advertisements for paid tours and experiences that might sound tempting. However, a lot of this stuff is targeted towards tourists, so the prices are sky high.

To save money, get creative and be your own tour guide. Grab some inexpensive guides before your trip or consult free resources on the internet.

There are tons of blogs and other websites that will give you a lot of great advice on the history of the area you’re in and things you can see and do.

Another great idea is just to pick an area of the town you’re in and try to experience it like the locals do. Choose a random spot for lunch and just wander around. You never know what hidden-gem spots you might discover when you’re not trying.

4. Take Advantage of Free Events

Thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to find free events no matter what city you’re in around the globe. Check Facebook for free or cheap events in your area.

If you’re in a major city, odds are you’re not far from something that is free to the public.

If you’re looking to go to museums, look for days when there is free or discounted admission. Traveling to Europe on a budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out on great experiences. If you do a little research, you can find a great time for little or no money.

5. Get Your Passport Early

We all know that international travel requires a valid passport, but some might not know the process or how much it costs to get one.

Before you apply, you’ll also need budget for the costs for passport and other documentation. If you’ve never had a passport before, you’ll also need to pay for a photo. These costs usually aren’t expensive, but they are one more thing you need to budget for.

Make sure you apply well before your trip so you don’t have to pay for an expedited application.

6. Travel Cheap Once You Get There

Europe is packed with great cities, and it’s easy to get from one city to the next on a budget. You don’t need to fly from city to city once you’re in Europe and all those plane tickets would get way too expensive anyway.

Train travel is affordable in Europe, as are buses. If you’re going on a longer trip you can also buy a pass to save even more money on your fare.

7. Keep a Food Budget

Many cities in Europe are known for their delicious food, but it’s easy to rack up a massive bill out at dinner.

Try to set a strict budget for eating out, and check sites like Trip Advisor to get an idea of what the costs are like at each restaurant.

You could also hit a local market or grocery store and try to cook on your own. This will save you a lot of money, especially if you’re in Europe for a long time.

8. Visit Lesser-Known Spots

Cities like Paris and London are beautiful, but they’re also some of the most expensive cities in the world.

If you want to save, try picking European cities that are more budget-friendly. Some cities are off-the-beaten-path and see less tourists, so they’re cheaper.

9. Clip Coupons to Save Even More

You probably use coupons all the time at home, so why not use them when you travel as well? There are tons of money-saving websites out there, such as Groupon or tripplo, that list day excursions, meals, museum tickets and more all at a discounted price.

That way you can still have fun experiences, but save some extra money along the way. Sometimes you can even purchase a whole trip on these websites, and save extra money on hotels and airfare.

10. Bring and Buy Only the Necessities

It’s easy to go on a shopping spree when you’re on vacation, but just like food, make sure you set a budget for souvenirs and other shopping expenses beforehand. Not only is checking bags expensive but souvenirs often just take up space in your suitcase.

It’s better to budget your money on experiences rather than material items. You’ll value the memories far longer than the items you purchased there.

Learn More Before You Go

Traveling to Europe on a budget isn’t as hard as you might think, it just takes a little extra planning. For more information on planning your next adventure (in Europe or anywhere in the world), check out the rest of our site.

We have tips and tricks for every aspect of traveling, such as planning a solo trip or even traveling during the holidays.